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As this was my first ever car show experience, I had no idea what to expect. As a novice with only six months of insurance experience to my name, what would I do?

What if people approached me to discuss their enthusiasm for their modified American import that, in reality, I had no idea even existed, or to talk about their most recent Ferrari purchase – just stare goldfish mouthed and look dumbfounded? As you can imagine, I was a little anxious.

I couldn’t even successfully make a cup of tea this early on a Sunday morning.

It was an ungodly 6am start ready to be on the road for 7am (travelling from the East Midlands had its perks) and this kind of dedication to a hobby was new to me. I was already apprehensive. Not only was I concerned my brain wouldn’t work at this hour; but I also had to make sure I looked a little more awake than I felt. I had to look enthusiastic and switched on to explain coherently our insurance products and engage in conversation with the events attendees.

I couldn’t even successfully make a cup of tea this early on a Sunday morning. However… I needn’t have worried. What I failed to remember is that it was 10am Sunday morning, and car-enthusiasts are human. If anything, they even empathised with all stand holders regarding the early hour, and later when discussing their growing collections of cars, I realised that I couldn’t really go wrong.

Despite us and other companies being there for work, everyone else was there for pleasure. Yes, we may have done business, and even discussed it, but ultimately this was a day out that they had paid to attend. They wanted to stroll around eyeing up some shiny cars with a cup of coffee, chat to insurers, car owners, and maybe negotiate with the wife to buy a car. It was only when I, too, went on a stroll around the different stands and stalls that I understood. I was no longer the consumer when I wasn’t behind the stand; everyone else viewed me as the customer. By moving away from the stand I saw what they saw- the smiles from the business owners, the proud car owners enjoying potential buyers admiring their vehicle, the families arm in arm laughing, the children’s hands sticking out of a pram clasped around a collectors miniature.

Pens pointing like pitchforks and clipboards used as shields.

This day wasn’t about heavy-going sales where businesses are competitive with each other and playing who can shout the loudest, which in honesty, is how I had painted the picture in my head. Pens pointing like pitchforks and clipboards used as shields. No. It was relaxed and friendly. It was all about getting to know your clients and learn where their interest in cars stemmed from – and why James had a collection of minis in his garage and why Leanne wanted her Nissan Figaro back on the road after a few months of being in storage. It was something I hadn’t expected, but all the anxiety I had built up the days leading up to this event just melted away. Knowing how I felt as a customer instantly put me at ease knowing that our customers, in turn, would be equally as relaxed and approachable. I only hope that the next car show I attend will be just as pleasant, as I think as first experiences go, this car show is certainly one to beat.